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Ups and Downs — Why Now?
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Ups and Downs

Problems in Canada: Leaking dike poses new threat in Manitoba

Manitobans hoping for a break in the flooding disaster got more bad news on Wednesday, as officials said there’s a new crisis area in the flood zone, along the Portage Diversion where the west bank of the channel dike has been seeping and needs major repair.

That could have a ripple effect along the Assiniboine River, said Steve Ashton, the minister of emergency measures.

“The real issue here is whether we can repair it without drawing down the Portage Diversion,” Ashton said. “If we draw down the Portage Diversion, that will reduce the flows through.”

Soldiers are doing their best to plug the dike, said Steve Topping of Manitoba Water Stewardship.

“It is key on the progress that the military makes today on that,” he told CBC News. “We could not get equipment in there — heavy equipment — because of the seepage zone, so that’s going to be the issue.”

High, fast water for an extended period will exploit every weakness in the levees/dikes, and the system has never been tested to this extent before.

Meanwhile, way down on the Mississippi: the crest approaches Vicksburg

Some of the worst flooding in Mississippi has been in the Vicksburg area, where people have been living in shelters for nearly two weeks. It’s anyone’s guess when they’ll be able to return to what’s left of their homes. The river is expected to crest there Thursday, but the governor said it could take until late June for water to retreat in certain places.

All the crest means is that it isn’t going to get any worse, but it will be a while before it gets better, and people will not be able to see what they lost for a week or more after the crest passes. In addition to buildings and crops the floods have ruined roads and bridges.

At least there haven’t been reports of deaths coming from the flooded area, although there will be some that are attributable to the flooding and there will be losses among livestock and pets that couldn’t be moved.